Yost takes two for the team in loss
BEMIDJI - Jess Yost certainly took her lumps Friday.
The Lumberjacks pitcher was hit with the ball not once but twice in Bemidji's game against Brainerd. The junior hurler was hit by a line drive while pitching, then later got beaned with a fastball from Brainerd's University of Minnesota-bound pitcher, Nikki Anderson.
Anderson and the Warriors ended up being a couple pitches better than Yost and the Lumberjacks, winning the game 3-1 on a chilly, overcast afternoon.
But Lumberjacks head coach Brad Takkunen was pleased with his team's effort, especially after the Jacks experienced the worst road trip imaginable in Fargo on Thursday.
"This was a very good game for us," he said. "(Thursday) we got pounded. We just played badly. So today was just an unbelievable bounceback."
The Jacks lost both games of their doubleheader against West Fargo by the same score, 11-1.
"It was real ugly, and West Fargo is not as good a team as Fargo," Takkunen said.
This time, the Lumberjacks gave it their all against the defending Section 8AAA champions.
Bemidji (8-6) struck first, manufacturing its only run.
Tami Jo Olson led the bottom half of the third inning with a walk, then stole second base. She took third on Jasmine Yerbich's single and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Just like that, it was 1-0.
But Anderson wouldn't be giving anything away. The Brainerd pitcher struck out the next three Lumberjacks swinging to get out of the inning. She allowed only three hits in the game and struck out 11 hitters.
Takkunen said the key to hitting against Anderson is patience. Although the Lumberjacks struck out 11 times, they made her work.
"We were a little patient at the plate," he said. "We weren't swinging at pitches she wanted us to swing at, which is good. I'm very proud of the girls."
Aside from Yerbich, Courtney Black and Jineane Williams recorded the other two hits for the Lumberjacks, both singles.
Meanwhile, Yost did all she could to deny the Warriors (13-1).
Despite scattering a few singles, she held Brainerd scoreless until the fifth inning when she was beaned for the first time.
Yost struck out the first batter but gave up three consecutive singles, which allowed Brainerd to tie the game at 1-1.
The next hitter, Nikki DeChaine, hit a rocket line drive right back at the pitching circle. Yost crumpled immediately after contact as the runner came across home to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.
Yost got up about five minutes later and retired the next two batters to end the threat. The ball hit her above the knee, not the hand or wrist like Takkunen thought.
She finished nicely on the mound and took the tough-luck loss, despite nine strikeouts and no walks.
"She's gonna be sore tomorrow," he said. "She's got a pretty good bruise there already."
The second time, Yost took one for the team. After giving up another run in the top of the seventh to give the Warriors a 3-1 cushion, she came to bat in the bottom half of the inning with Hannah Olson on first.
Anderson drilled Yost with the first pitch she threw, putting two on with none out.
She rebounded to get the next two outs before walking Olson -- the winning run -- to load the bases in an eight-pitch at-bat.
It took her eight more pitches but Anderson struck out Yerbich to end the game.
"This was a very positive game," Takkunen said. "Jess was a little tired, I think. She just needs to work in a few more off-speed pitches and keep them off stride.
"But for us, it's more of a 'What did we learn from today?' situation. I'm very pleased."
The Jacks travel back to North Dakota Thursday to take on Grand Forks Red River before returning home May 15 for a game against Fargo North.
Brainerd 000 020 1 - 3 10 2
Bemidji 001 000 0 - 1 3 2
Anderson (W) and Wennerstand. K-11. BB-3
Yost (L) and Black. K-9. BB-0